Lawn Boy Returns by Gary Paulsen. Pub. Wendy Lamb Books, 2010.
Lawn Boy is twelve years old and his grandfather left him a motor mower when he died. He started mowing lawns to earn some money and business went wild. A stockbroker client invested some of the money he made and hit the jackpot. Suddenly lawn Boy is worth $480,000 and is sponsor of a prize fighter. Through all of this action Gary Paulsen explains in simple terms the basic principles of Capitalism Economics, and boy is it fun.
In this sequel the business expands and Arnold, Lawn Boy’s stockbroker helps him hire staff including lawyers accountants, press agents etc and it drives Lawn Boy crazy. In between time Lawn Boy’s grandmother gets involved and mystery family members come out of the closet looking for a handout. All the perils of being “nouveau riche” are explored with tongue very much in cheek.
The ending is brilliant although very far fetched as you would expect.
A great yarn, easy to read, less than 100 pages and ideal for the reluctant reader of Intermediate and junior secondary age. You will love it.
The Midnight Charter by David Whitley. Pub. Puffin, 2009.
The City of Agora is a dark and gloomy place. The districts of the city are named after the Astrological signs and the economy of the city is ruled by contracts both business and personal in which a service or commodity is traded for another. It is a refined barter system and it has created a huge disparity in wealth and power amongst it’s citizens.
Mark and Lily are unfortunates who have been bought by different masters living in the same house or tower owned by Count Stelli.
Mark has been sold by his father to Dr Theophilus and Lily who is an orphan of unknown parentage, works for the great astrologer Count Strelli himself. The two decide to change masters and Lily and Dr Theophilus are driven from the tower to seek their fortune elsewhere.
Mark through good fortune and astrological predictions, becomes wealthy and is manipulated by the establishment. Lily forms a Trust that gives free medicine and food to the poor. Lily’s actions are seen as a threat to the stability of Agora, while Mark has not forgotten his poor roots.
What neither Mark nor Lily know is that their rise has been foretold by the Midnight Charter and that both are in danger.
Deep socialist stuff but great to read. This is clearly the first book of a series, a series that promises much. Watch out for the next one.
This is for your lover of fantasy/adventure novels from Intermediate to junior secondary.
Frindle by Andrew Clements. Pub. Simon and Schuster, 1996.
Aimed at ages 9 through 12 your kids will love it and you will too.
Nick is in fifth grade and he is the witty boy in the class, always with a unique angle and with something to say. When his teacher, Mrs Granger, is discussing how words enter the language and the dictionary, Nick decides to call a pen, a frindle.
After using the word several times Mrs Granger gets fed up and bans the word.
What a mistake. The next day the whole class is using it, then the whole school and then it is banned at school. Newspapers and TV find out about it and the whole scenario explodes from there. Soon there is the T-shirt and an industry built around the frindle.
Easy to read your kids will love you for it. Check out his other books too they are all good.